A team of scientists has a new explanation for the planet Mercury's dark, barely reflective surface. They suggest that a steady dusting of carbon from passing comets has slowly painted Mercury black over billions of years.
Stars form when gravity pulls together material within giant clouds of gas and dust. But gravity isn't the only force at work. Both turbulence and magnetic fields battle gravity, either by stirring things up or by channeling and restricting gas flows, respectively. New research focusing on magnetic fields shows that they influence star formation on a variety of scales, from hundreds of light-years down to a fraction of a light-year.
When galaxy clusters collide, their dark matters pass through each other, with very little interaction. Deepening the mystery, a study by scientists at EPFL and the University of Edinburgh challenges the idea that dark matter is composed of particles.
Astronomers using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory have found that dark matter does not slow down when colliding with each other. This means that it interacts with itself even less than previously thought. Researchers say this finding narrows down the options for what this mysterious substance might be.
If you could jump a spaceship out past Mars and Jupiter to Saturn, pass by its rings and somehow park on the planet's gaseous surface, how long would your day be there? This question, surprisingly, has not been precisely answered until now.
A new study provides the first observational evidence that a supermassive black hole at the center of a large galaxy can power huge, wide-angled outpourings of material from deep inside the galaxy's core. These outflows remove massive quantities of star-making gas, thus influencing the size, shape and overall fate of the host galaxy.
The precise measurement of Saturn's rotation has presented a great challenge to scientists, as different parts of this sweltering ball of hydrogen and helium rotate at different speeds whereas its rotation axis and magnetic pole are aligned. A new method proposes a new determination of Saturn's rotation period and offers insight into the internal structure of the planet, its weather patterns, and the way it formed.
Using data from orbiting observatories, including NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, and ground-based facilities, an international team of astronomers has discovered an outburst from a star thought to be in the earliest phase of its development. The eruption, scientists say, reveals a sudden accumulation of gas and dust by an exceptionally young protostar known as HOPS 383.
The Square Kilometer Array, a radio telescope planned for Africa and Australia, will have an unprecedented ability to deliver data on the location and properties of stars, galaxies and giant clouds of hydrogen gas. In a new study, a team of scientists has developed a new, faster approach to analyzing all that data.
Long before Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars formed, it seems that the inner solar system may have harbored a number of super-Earths - planets larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. If so, those planets are long gone - broken up and fallen into the sun billions of years ago largely due to a great inward-and-then-outward journey that Jupiter made early in the solar system's history.
A search of nearby galaxies for their oldest stars has uncovered two stars in the Sculptor dwarf galaxy that were born shortly after the galaxy formed, approximately 13 billion years ago. The unusual chemical content of the stars may have originated in a single supernova explosion from the first generation of Sculptor stars.